Dec 7, 2020 Lose Weight, Live Longer

The Bariatric Program at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital offers safe and effective ways to slim down.

About 42 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

That’s alarming, because being overweight increases the risk of dying from COVID-19—especially in people age 60 or younger and in men, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

One possible explanation: COVID-19 causes breathing difficulties, and obesity exacerbates the problem. Also, people who are obese have more trouble recovering from respiratory infections like pneumonia.

People with a body mass index (BMI)—a weight-height ratio—over 40 live 10 fewer years than those who have a lower BMI, according to Ragui Sadek, MD, Director, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Hamilton.

Obesity can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and uterine, esophageal, and colorectal cancers. For people with high BMIs, “the cure is surgery,” says Dr. Sadek. “It has proven success based on the literature.”

Ragui Sadek, MD
Ragui Sadek, MD

At RWJUH Hamilton, the Bariatric Program provides advanced treatment for weight loss.

Program physicians perform primary surgeries as well as revision surgeries using robotic technology. There are six surgeons, a physician assistant, a nurse, and a dietitian. Patients see a nutritionist, psychologist, cardiologist, pulmonologist, and gastroenterologist prior to surgery, says Dr. Sadek.

The psychologist evaluates patients for behavioral health problems like eating disorders, which can interfere with the outcome of the surgery. A cardiologist ensures patients can tolerate surgery.

A pulmonologist, who specializes in lung conditions, rules out conditions like sleep apnea. A gastroenterologist checks patients for ulcers, untreated infections, hernias, and reflux.

“We use cutting-edge research to improve our outcomes,” says Dr. Sadek.

Types of Bariatric Surgery

The weight-loss procedure that’s right for you depends on several factors, such as your age, eating habits, long-term goals, and medical problems, such as diabetes, says Ragui Sadek, MD, Director of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Hamilton. Talk with your physician about which procedure would work best for you.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

How It Works: About 80 percent of the stomach is removed, leaving a small “sleeve” about the size of a banana. This surgery helps people feel full after eating small amounts of food and causes gut hormone levels to drop so they’re not as hungry.

Best For: It’s great for people who feel hungry all the time because it prevents them from overeating. It also helps to resolve serious health conditions like diabetes. People who have gastroesophageal reflux disease should avoid this procedure, though, because it can worsen the problem.

Gastric Bypass

How It Works: The stomach is divided into two sections. The top part becomes a small pouch the size of a golf ball. It limits the amount of food that can be eaten. The stomach is connected to the middle of the small intestine, and the remaining parts of the stomach and intestinal tract don’t absorb food. This procedure leads to hormonal changes that promote weight loss.

Best For: This procedure is ideal for people with severe diabetes because it cures the condition. It also prevents people from overeating. It can benefit those with reflux disease.

Duodenal Switch and Single-Anastomosis Duodenal Ileal Bypass with Sleeve Gastrectomy (SADI-S)

How It Works: This is a modified duodenal switch procedure. A portion of the stomach is removed to create a smaller one. Next, a large part of the small intestine, or duodenum, is bypassed so that food empties into the last segment of it, resulting in less absorption of calories and nutrients. The new version, called SADI-S, is a shorter, less complicated operation and has a lower risk of long-term nutritional deficiencies. The procedure helps to reduce the amount of food a person eats and reduces the absorption of fat. It also results in hormonal changes that reduce appetite and lead to a feeling of “fullness.”

Best For: This procedure results in the most weight loss. People with high BMIs or long-standing diabetes that’s difficult to control can benefit.

Best Candidates

To qualify for bariatric surgery, you must have:

  • A body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater
  • A BMI of 35 to 40 plus one or more other conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, or an enlarged liver

A Bariatric Surgeon Answers Your Questions

What is your vision for the Bariatric Program at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Hamilton?

We want to bring a high-quality program to RWJUH Hamilton. Our program at RWJUH Hamilton’s sister hospital, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, has been one of the top in the state and is ranked nationwide for its quality, standards, and success rates.

What’s an accredited program?

RWJUH Hamilton’s bariatric surgery program is a Center of Excellence for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. That means it’s accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP), a joint venture between the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Bariatric surgery centers must meet certain practice standards in order to be accredited. They also must report their surgical outcomes to the MBSAQIP database.

What’s unique about the program at RWJUH Hamilton?

We offer high-quality patient care. Also, we use the most advanced equipment to perform weight-loss surgery safely. We perform minimally invasive procedures using robotic technology.

Learn more about weight loss and bariatric surgery at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, or call (888) 724-7123 or visit our website to schedule an appointment today and begin your journey to a healthier life.